Shocker Cools Into a ‘Rite’ of Passage

September 14, 2012
The New York Times
Richard Taruskin


The Joffrey Ballet’s version of [The Rite of Spring] 1987 purported to reinstate Nijinsky’s harsh original. It will be revived next March as part of a season-long celebration by Carolina Performing Arts, which begins on Sept. 30. But even it allowed a bit of sentimentality to seep into the concluding “Danse Sacrale,” when the victim tries repeatedly to break out of the circle of tribal elders who confine her. There could not have been such a concession to a banal sense of the tragic in the original, or Jacques Rivière, the French literary critic, couldn’t have written that “not for an instant” does the victim “betray the personal terror that must fill her soul.”